New Delhi: Ahead of the three-match Test series against India, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson on Tuesday hailed host skipper Virat Kohli’s ability to dominate in all the three formats of the game as “special”.
Addressing reporters ahead of the Black Caps’ three-day practice game against Mumbai, starting on Friday at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground here, Williamson named Kohli as one of the players, whom the Kiwis will look out for during the Test series.
“Virat (Kohli) is a great player. The ability to dominate in all three formats like he does is something very special and certainly something that I admire. I love watching him play,” Williamson said.
“There are a lot of good players in the Indian team whom we will have to look out for. Virat is one of those players, against whom we have to be at our very best.”
The 26-year-old right-hander, who is often counted in the same bracket as Kohli along with Australia skipper Steve Smith and England batsman Joe Root, said each player has his own style and game plan which sets him apart from each other.
“Smith, Root are both great players as well and I think all different players have different strengths, trying to stick to their own game plans, their own strengths and I suppose there lies the beauty of the game.”
Williamson, who is part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL), admitted playing India at home is one of the toughest challenges.
“We know it will be a challenge. India in their home conditions is one of the toughest challenges in the game, specially in the longest format. New Zealand is quite excited to take them on, specially after returning from Zimbabwe and South Africa where the conditions are quite different,” he said.
“We have a number of guys in the team who have been a part of the IPL for a few years now and no doubt those experiences help.”
“The format is different and the focus is on Test cricket at the moment but still I suppose those conditions are something that we can draw from little bit to try and help in preparations going into this series. It’s a different format, we’ll have to prepare well.”
“During the previous series in India (against South Africa), spin certainly played a huge part and I think batting was difficult. I have no doubt it will be a bit of a scare, so spin from both teams will play a big part. We have three good spinners and it should be a good contest,” he added.
Expecting a spin-dominated series, Kiwi coach Mike Hesson, who was seated beside the captain, said the team will bank on the previous experiences of playing in sub-continent conditions.
“We spent a lot of time in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe before South Africa, so that was a pretty much spin dominant series (against Zimbabwe) and was in similar conditions and pace with what we expect in India.
“It’s very difficult for us to replicate those conditions at home, so the week ahead of the first Test is crucial for recovery and preparing individual game plans but most of the players have played here before and certainly had success in the sub-continent and we will certainly go on that experience as well,” he said.
Going into the high-profile series, New Zealand’s biggest headache will be the form of swashbuckling opener Martin Guptill, who recently scored 7, 8 and 0 from the Test series defeat in South Africa.
But Williamson is unfazed with the recent slump, and backed the 29-year-old as a world class cricketer.
“Martin (Guptil) has been working very hard. We know that he is a world class cricketer and he has shown that a lot in the white ball format and certainly we are backing him to do well with the red ball,” he said.
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